The Best Time to Visit Mexico

There’s always something to do in Mexico—no matter what time of year you go.

Rows of colorful paper flags attached to church at colonial town of Valladolid

From its historic cities to abundance of festivals, Mexico offers a wealth of activities every month of the year.

Courtesy of Filip Gielda/Unsplash

If you’re thinking about traveling to Mexico, there’s a question you may want answered: When is the best time to visit?

Arguably the best time to visit Mexico is during the winter months of December, January, and February because that’s when the weather is most favorable for its beaches. But Mexico is far more than a top beach destination, and the summer season in Mexico promises many wonderful things to do—particularly if you like surfing or deep-sea fishing. Spring and fall are also appealing because mild, sunny weather means ideal conditions for exploring the centro historicos of cities or getting lost in art and cultural museums.

Here’s the best time to travel to Mexico, whether you’re looking to catch some rays or fly in for Dia de los Muertos.

Sunset on a beach, two people walking by the water in background

Whether you’re looking for the powdery shores of the Mexican Caribbean, the mountain-shielded beaches of the Pacific, or the windswept beaches of Baja, Mexico has 5,800 miles of coastline.

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Best time to visit Mexico for the beach

  • Best months: November–May

The optimal time to visit Mexico for the beach is from late fall through early spring. This is when you’ll have the most sunny days, warm daily temperatures, and cooler evenings. The humidity tends to be a lot lower, too. The main beach regions in Mexico include the Caribbean, the Pacific, and Baja. In these areas, average highs in the winter remain around 80 degrees Fahrenheit, while the summer reaches sweltering highs that are typically in the 90s.

The summer and early fall months tend to be much rainier and with a higher risk of hurricanes across the beach regions, particularly in October. The rain in Mexico usually doesn’t last long—and the higher humidity index will make you want to jump in the ocean—but wet weather sometimes means murkier ocean water and thunderstorms that can dampen an afternoon.

Stone animal figure next to an ancient pyramid

The beauty of having a country as big and topographically diverse as Mexico is that sightseeing is possible essentially year-round.

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Best time to visit Mexico for sightseeing

  • Best months: Year-round

If it’s Mayan ruins you’re after, then winter and spring are the best seasons, when less humid days make touring sites like Chichén Itzá and Tulum a lot more pleasant. For exploring historic monuments in higher altitude places like Puebla and Oaxaca, summer temperatures are less of an issue. During winter temperatures can drop to the range of 30–40 degrees Fahrenheit in the evenings.

Of course, museums, art galleries, and theater visits work well every month. Mexico City, Guadalajara, and Puebla are some of the leading cities for art and culture. If you’re visiting these places, consider saving the museum visits for the rainier period from June to September, when sunshine is less of a guarantee.

Man carrying surfboard on beach at sunset

Surfing near Puerto Vallarta reaches its peak during the winter months.

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Best time to visit Mexico for surfing

  • Best months: Year-round

The best time to visit Mexico for surfing depends on where you want to go and your skill level. Puerto Escondido, Oaxaca, is one of Mexico’s top surf capitals, and swells are at their peak from late April through September. And while there may be more rain during these months, you can expect the most consistency with waves. For Baja surf, November to February promises powerful swells, while more balanced waves from March to May set it up nicely for beginners and intermediate surfers.

Whale breaching out of the ocean

Baja is another top spot to see migrating whales.

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Best time to visit Mexico for whale-watching

  • Best months: December–April

Every year, thousands of humpback whales make their way down the Pacific Coast from Alaska and Canada to the warmer waters off Mexico for calving and breeding, including the Sea of Cortez and the Bay of Banderas. The best time to see whales as they breach along the Pacific is from December through April. If you’re in Cabo, Whale Watch Cabo offers 2.5-hour excursions. In Puerto Vallarta, Chica Locca has a day-trip option that takes you around the Bay of Banderas, in addition to whale-watching.

Two large cruise ships near pier

Whether you want to lounge on the pool deck or meander in a busy port, winter to spring is the best time to take a cruise.

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Best time to visit Mexico for cruising

  • Best months: November–April

The dry season between November and April is the best time for cruising. These months bring sunny days, less humidity, and near-consistent weather. A majority of the major cruise lines all call in Mexico: Cozumel is the cruise capital of Mexico’s Caribbean region, while West Coast cruises usually call in Los Cabos, Mazatlan, and Puerto Vallarta. Although many itineraries are offered year-round, some trips—including the adventure-focused Baja’s Bounty seven-night journey by Uncruise Adventures—are only available during the winter.

Swimming pool at a resort, with empty lounge chairs in the water

The crowds tend to leave during the summer, though July is an exception; families often travel then because their children are out of school.

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Best time to visit Mexico for avoiding the crowds

  • Best months: May–June, August–September

When the summer rolls around in Mexico’s resort towns, the crowds tend to leave. A by-product of this is that hotels, resorts, Airbnbs, and restaurants will typically lower their prices; if you are willing to put up with the risk of stormy weather, high humidity, and the occasional hurricane threat, then August and September will reward with rock-bottom prices and more privacy.

That said, another tip is to head to Mexico just after the New Year. For about two weeks following January 4, the crowds tend to lessen at hotels and resorts as holiday travelers head back home.

Mexican flags of different sizes for sale along a street

There are a few major celebrations throughout the year to have on the calendar, including Mexican Independence Day.

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Best time to visit Mexico for festivals

  • Best months: Year-round

Festivals and events happen year-round in Mexico. One of its most important holidays is Semana Santa, or Holy Week, which occurs the week leading up to Easter, usually in March or April. Mexico’s Independence Day on September 15 and 16 is another big holiday and is celebrated with fireworks and parades in the street. At midnight on September 16, the President of Mexico re-enacts the famous “El Grito,” or the “Cry for Independence,” from the Zócalo (principal plaza) of Mexico City.

Arguably Mexico’s most well-known event is its Día de Los Muertos celebration, which honors people who are no longer living. This annual holiday is celebrated around the country throughout October with beautifully decorated altars, although the celebrations center on November 1 and 2 with parties and parades. For the best Día de Los Muertos experience, plan to arrive around October 31 and stay through November 3.

Meagan Drillinger is a travel writer and Mexico expert who lives on the road full-time.
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